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10 best self care books that can inspire healing, growth and self love

From spiritual discovery to navigating stress, these enriching reads are food for the soul

Emily Goddard
Wednesday 02 February 2022 11:33 GMT
<p>We focused compassion, kindness and healing rather than self-improvement</p>

We focused compassion, kindness and healing rather than self-improvement

Quitter’s day has been and gone, and if you were one of the 16 per cent of Britons to set a New Year’s resolution for 2022, the familiar inertia of daily life will likely have already returned, with no positive changes in place. Don’t feel bad about it, though. You can cut yourself a break, because you are more likely to have success implementing changes at any other time of the year than January.

Now might be the time to revisit those goals you dreamed of achieving this year. But we’d only encourage so if those ambitions are rooted in compassion, kindness and healing – self-love before self-improvement. Those in need of guidance might look to self-care books. Such titles offer advice, bring clarity and provide practical tips that can help get you to where you need to be.

Time spent reading them should be inspirational and motivating, not frustrating or self-pity inducing, as can be the case with some self-help books. They should support you in setting and working towards achievable, realistic goals, and there could be an element of reward, which could even be feeling good about yourself for taking the time to read.

Whatever you feel you need to do this year to live your best life, we’ve got you covered with these self-care books that will guide you through the process.

How we tested

We think we’ve got almost everything covered, including developing self-love, exploring spirituality, healing trauma, combatting stress and even having more fun. Every book we’ve included has been read and reviewed by our testers for their key messages, reading pleasure, practical tools and effectiveness at helping to nurture self-care. Get ready to be uplifted, start feeling good and discover an unconditional love for yourself.

Read more:

The best self-care books for 2022 are:

  • Best overall The Power of Fun by Catherine Price, published by Bantam Press: £11.35,
  • Best for navigating menopause Second Spring by Kate Codrington, published by HQ: £14.99,
  • Best for harnessing gratitudeThe Gift of Gratitude by Louise Hay, published by Hay House: £11.99,
  • Best for healing Recovery by Gavin Francis, published by Wellcome Collection: £4.49,
  • Best for spiritual explorationBigger Than Us by Fearne Cotton, published by Ebury Press: £9.50,
  • Best for managing stress Stressilient by Dr Sam Akbar, published by 4th Estate: £7.99,
  • Best for self-love How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh, published by Souvenir Press: £9.99,
  • Best for recovery from traumaHappy Days by Gabrielle Bernstein, published by Hay House: £15.19,
  • Best self-care journalGet Untamed: The Journal by Glennon Doyle, published by Vermilion: £9.99,
  • Best for overcoming sleep problemsWake Up to Sleep by Charlie Morley, published by Hay House: £7.69,

‘The Power of Fun’ by Catherine Price, published by Bantam Press

‘The Power of Fun’ by Catherine Price, indybest.jpg

Best: Overall

Rating: 9.5/10

Fun is something few people have had over the past couple of years, as the pandemic sucked almost every bit of joy out of life. But if you remember what fun feels like, you’ll recall it makes you feel effervescent, ecstatic, alive even. This book aims to get us back there by pulling us away from our smartphones, or WMDs (weapons of mass distraction), as Catherine Price points out, and rekindling our relationship with the kind of playfulness that we enjoyed as children, and desperately need as adults.

The book is a light, easily digestible read that includes practical steps to follow and realistic examples for bringing more meaning and happiness to everyday life. This is the book everyone needs to read in 2022.

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‘Second Spring’ by Kate Codrington, published by HQ

‘Second Spring’ by Kate Codrington indybest.jpg

Best: For navigating menopause

Rating: 8.5/10

If you’re looking for a frank, smart, friendly guide to help you navigate through the phases of menopause, this is the book for you. It is as comprehensive as they come, including practical advice on everything from symptoms and eating well to the power of saying “no” and preparing for appointments with your doctor.

Our tester found the self-help for hormones at a glance table super useful for identifying why they felt a certain way, and how to feel better, and loved the honest yet inspirational quotes dotted throughout the book. The free to download audio meditations and resources, such as the moon chart and massage instructions, are also excellent. Kate Codrington shows menopause is not so much a time of something being lost, but rather a time when there is much to be gained.

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‘The Gift of Gratitude’ by Louise Hay, published by Hay House

‘The Gift of Gratitude’ by Louise Hay indybest.jpg

Best: For harnessing gratitude

Rating: 9/10

The late Louise Hay is the mother of self-love, compassion and positivity, so it makes sense that her wisdom and words are still being used in books released today. This beautifully illustrated, colourful journal is packed with her teachings on gratitude, soothing affirmations and uplifting guidance. It will help you remember that all is well in your world, and you have so much to be thankful for.

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‘Recovery’ by Gavin Francis, published by Wellcome Collection

‘Recovery’ by Gavin Francis indybest.jpg

Best: For healing

Rating: 8.5/10

This is a book short in length but not on wisdom. It explores the history of recovery, includes uplifting personal anecdotes and tips, and demonstrates the value of convalescence and self-compassion. The timing of the book’s release couldn’t have been more appropriate as we all begin our recovery from the pandemic, and some are left living with long Covid. To those, we’d recommend this book in the hope that it shows the importance of allowing yourself time and kindness.

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‘Bigger Than Us’ by Fearne Cotton, published by Ebury Press

‘Bigger Than Us’ by Fearne Cotton, indybest.jpg

Best: For spiritual exploration

Rating: 8.5/10

Going it alone through life can feel pretty scary at times, but having a sense of knowing that there may be something else out there can bring heaps of comfort. This book takes you along for the ride that is Fearne Cotton’s own journey of spiritual discovery, while allowing you to embark on your own too.

It includes the voices of teachers in various fields, including everything from shamanism to astrology, and opens your eyes to things such as the law of attraction and the power of prayer. It is written in a way that only Cotton knows how, bringing her warmth and personality to the page to make it feel like you’re reading a letter from an old pal. She manages to effortlessly communicate what are some of the most complex and mysterious concepts in a way that is understandable to all.

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‘Stressilient’ by Dr Sam Akbar, published by 4th Estate

‘Stressilient’ by Dr Sam Akbar indybest.jpg

Best: For managing stress

Rating: 8/10

Resilience has become a buzzword during the pandemic, as our ability to maintain strength and adapt at the drop of a hat has been tested to the limit. Now, clinical psychologist Dr Sam Akbar shows us how to become “stressilient” with this fascinating and helpful book.

She acknowledges that, at times, stress is always going to be a part of life, so by teaching us a bit about how our brains work, how to keep our thoughts in check, learning to be in the present moment and practising self-compassion, she helps us feel calm in those challenging times. Our tester found the practical guidelines exceptionally helpful, and liked the science-backed approach of the book.

This is still awaiting publication but you can pre-order it now ahead of it’s scheduled release in May.

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‘How to Be You’ by Jeffrey Marsh, published by Souvenir Press

‘How to Be You’ by Jeffrey Marsh indybest.jpg

Best: For self-love

Rating: 8/10

So many of us compare ourselves to others; it’s almost like we enjoy feeling less than. But that needs to stop. We need to stop hiding who we are and instead celebrate everything we are, and Jeffrey Marsh shows us exactly how to do that with this fabulous book. It is part guidance from a wise, caring friend, part interactive workbook with useful exercises to complete. Ultimately, it’s a bible for helping you escape perfectionism and the need for approval from others, while learning to cultivate the self-love and acceptance that allows you to live authentically with courage and joy.

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‘Happy Days’ by Gabrielle Bernstein, published by Hay House

‘Happy Days’ by Gabrielle Bernstein indybest.jpg

Best: For recovery from trauma

Rating: 8.5/10

Our tester has been a Gabrielle Bernstein fan since the release of her book Add More ~ing to Your Life (£10.77, back in 2009, so they were mega excited about this, her newest title. It shows a side of the author, a vulnerability, that speaks to our own vulnerabilities and allows us to be honest about what we need to move past, whether that’s “Trauma with a big T or trauma with a small t”, to become unstuck and enjoy freedom. Bernstein offers sound guidance and several techniques that can be used for confronting and embracing fear, for learning to reparent ourselves and discover how to become aligned to receive spiritual support and love.

This title will be released on 22 February 2022 but you can pre-order yours now for delivery on publication day.

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‘Get Untamed: The Journal’ by Glennon Doyle, published by Vermilion

‘Get Untamed- The Journal’ by Glennon Doyle indybest.jpg

Best: Self-care journal

Rating: 9/10

You’ll have heard of and likely read Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed, the one Adele brilliantly described as “ProBloodyFound” in 2020. Now the author has created this interactive journal to chart and accelerate your untethering from laughable expectations, as you discover your true self through creativity and deep thought.

There are dozens of exercises to help you explore your beliefs, spark your imagination and develop unwavering trust in yourself. The book is a delight to read and gaze on, with stunning illustrations and empowering advice that we all need to hear to live a blissful, fulfilled life.

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‘Wake Up to Sleep’ by Charlie Morley, published by Hay House

‘Wake Up to Sleep’ by Charlie Morley indybest.jpg

Best: For overcoming sleep problems

Rating: 8/10

Sleep problems have increased worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic, as stress and uncertainty have taken hold. But we all know that good quality sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing, so not getting enough can further add to the stress. This book explores the problems behind poor shut-eye, going far beyond simply the blue light emitted by your smartphone, and offers loads of soothing exercises and routine examples that’ll improve the quality and amount of sleep you’re getting. It also covers breathing techniques, lucid dreaming exercises and even extols the virtues of napping, so it definitely gets our approval.

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The verdict: Self-care books

If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it should be that time and care for ourselves and those close to us should always be the number one priority. That doesn’t always have to mean being stuffy and serious, though.

Space for laughing, joy and playfulness is among the kindest things we can give ourselves, as The Power of Fun shows. The book is an inspiration, and the practical advice it holds will guide you out of the darkness and into happiness.

If you’re looking for something more interactive, we’d highly recommend Get Untamed: The Journal, which will help you live your best life, unapologetically.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on audiobooks, try the link below:

Check out Adele’s favourite self-help book in our round-up of must-read self-care titles

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